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July 13, 2007

In a new assessment of states' business climates, high business costs worsen New York's ranking

A new ranking of states' business climates puts New York in the middle of the pack, with a generally favorable ranking for quality of life pulled down by one of the nation's worst environments for taxes and other business costs.

Forbes Magazine's new ranking of "the best states for business" ranks New York's business climate 33rd in the nation, a slight improvement from the state's 35th place ranking in last year's survey. A table showing the magazine's ranking of states' business costs is at www.ppinys.org/reports/jtf/forbesbestplaces.htm.

In the key category of business costs, New York is ranked 48th.

The survey suggests a strong connection between a state's tax burden and the quality of its business climate.

Of the top 10 states in the Forbes ranking – Virginia, Utah, North Carolina, Texas, Washington, Idaho, Florida, Colorado, North Dakota, and Minnesota – only the 10th -best state, Minnesota, is among the 10 most heavily taxed states on the Public Policy Institute's ranking of states' overall tax burdens.

The PPI's ranking of state's tax burdens, which is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, shows New York as the nation's most heavily taxed state year in and year out.

The Forbes survey's overall ranking of states is based on evaluations of 32 different criteria in six specific categories: business costs, quality of the labor pool, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects, and quality of life.

New York's highest ranking was in the quality of life category, in which it ranked 19th. Its rankings in other categories are middle-of-the-pack: labor pool (33rd), regulatory environment (20th), economic climate (21st), and growth prospects (12th).

The top-ranked state, Virginia, finished in the top 10 in four of the six categories. The second-ranked state, Utah, "benefited from low business costs (9% below the national average) and a strong current economic environment," Forbes said.